Ever encountered the idea that the internet and online technologies will somehow destroy the barrier between professionals and amateurs, leading us to a horrible world without the glorious quality media we're used to? That's a joke of course, between fears of Harlequin self-publishing to the "Cult of the Amateur" balderdash, we're all familiar with it.
I've recently found yet another reason this fear is a total load of hamster leavings beyond the many I've stated before.
That reason is that it takes a lot of effort to get that work out there in any form of acceptable quality. I'm not talking the quality of the work itself – I'm talking the act of setting it up and getting it actually out there in an accessible fashion.. The acts of rendering the video, formatting the work, creating a help file for an online game.
This hit me as I formatted the Fan To Pro book. I sat there tweaking PDF conversion, margins, paragraphs, and realized that the amount of work it takes to make anything that has a chance for a lasting impression, attention, sales, etc. is going to have to do a lot of work to get it out.
The necessary effort to do this ensures at least some level of commitment and quality. Ed Wood himself may not have been a producer of quality work, but he had an at least minimal ability to get his vision implemented in a way people could access it. It just wasn't that great a vision.
Much as I harp on the fact that a given skill for a job and/or media production is nothing without supporting skills such as organization and communication, media production still requires many supporting skills and the commitment to use them. A book needs formatting, a manga needs proper scanning, a website needs to be navigable.
Those who are using the new tools to do their own media creation and distribution have to be just as committed as the "professionals." In many cases, they have to do tasks the supposed professionals no longer do – setting up websites, typesetting, writing documentation, etc. This is a barrier to the truly untalented – and even more so to the truly uncommitted.
Sorry cynics. The internet and modern media tech isn't going to destroy culture. It just gives people more ways to get their books, music, games, and more to the world. The effort to do that, the commitment, and the skills to prepare the media act as a gateway to the untalented and uncommitted.
It's just more talented people have ways to get their work out.
– Steven Savage